KAMPALA —President Yoweri Museveni has issued two directives compelling government agencies to provide e-services.
The directive issued at the inaugural ICT expo also makes it mandatory for government institutions to use solutions by local innovators.
Commissioning the inaugural National ICT Innovation Expo, the president pledged to cut down on imported solutions and increased funding for ICT innovators provided there’s demonstrable return on investment.
He said government will always ensure that there’s money to fund local innovations.
“Once you show that we can use it, we can then show the money,” he said assuring Ugandans that government will work towards eliminating import solutions in the ICT sector noting that such money should be diverted to local innovators.
Museveni later visited different exhibition stalls— commending the different Ugandans who are embracing technology as a game-changer in the face of human and global needs.
Among the exhibitors, Museveni lauded a one William Wasswa whose innovation is about easily identifying cervical cancer amongst women.
“I have also seen a digital hospital where patients can be examined, and diagnosed in just minutes. I must say I am greatly impressed by the step Uganda is taking towards technology,” he said.
He said that technology is no longer a choice but a necessity.
“The UGX13bn fund given to the innovators if just a starter, if you show that you are using it very well, you shall get more money,” said Mr. Museveni.
Over 80 ICT startups and government ministries departments and agencies are participating in the Expo.
Organised by the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance (MoICT & NG) under the theme: “Accelerating investment in digital innovation ”, the Expo is meant to encourage the creation of inclusive and sustainable wealth, employment, development and growth.
The ministry is also working in collaboration with expert innovation hubs and key partners such as Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), National Information Technology Authority (NITA), ACIA, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).
Local content key to a sustainable domestic IT industry.
On his part, outgoing ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze, said government ought to take the lead in creating a sustainable market for locally developed ICT applications.
“For us to deliberately create market for locally developed applications, government must take lead in procuring them. That is why we need a law,” said Tumwebaze, adding that for government MDAs to comply with the directive, the ICT ministry was introducing The Local Start-Ups Bill ” which will require all accounting officers to first exhaust the local market products before procuring ICT solutions from abroad.”
Tumwebaze also urged government MDAs to adopt technology as a way of” improving service delivery, reducing on the human contact and mitigating corruption.”
“Automation, digitalization is the path to a corrupt free society,” he told the audience composed of cabinet ministers, government officials, development partners, academia, private sector, civil society, innovators, innovation hubs and venture capitalists.